Leaving The Race

“So it raises this notion: What is our true journey in life?

Yes, it’s fine to have plans and to have goals and to work toward them. Let me give you an example. I have a story in my book of stories. It opens the book. It’s a very short one about a cyclist who works and prepares months for this cycling race. And it’s out in the country. The day comes and he’s in the lead. He’s ahead of everybody by quite a bit and all of a sudden, out of nowhere a great blue heron sweeps, wings spread, swoops right over his handlebars. And he’s stunned. He stops [and] straddles his bike, because the path of the heron opened something he had been chasing his whole life. And everybody else is catching up to him and he’s stopped and he’s confused. He ran into something he didn’t expect. And now, we fast forward and the end of the story, [and it’s] years later. Every once in a while he is asked, “What cost you the race?” And once in a while he’ll look to the south and he’ll say, “I didn’t lose the race. I left it.” ”

∼  Mark Nepo, interview with Tami Simons



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